“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”- Haruki Murakami

Do you know why this quote is applicable here? It is because for a long time now, we have been bogged down with books that lack representation, especially representation of different sexualities. Our society is dominated by heterosexuality in every way possible. This can be seen in literature too. A good book can help us expand our perspective from a black and white world to a more colourful and diverse one. So, we did a little digging and made a list of some amazing LGBT books. All of them will leave you mesmerized with the characters, myriad perspectives, and beautiful writing. Here are 5 ‘must read’ LGBT books-

1.Memory of light by Ruth Vanita

LGBT book set in pre-independent India? Yes, please!!!

It’s King George the Third’s fiftieth birthday and the preparations for a celebration are in full swing in Lucknow. Poets and performers from all over the country are flocking to this beautiful city. Chapla bai is one such person. She is a courtesan. Nafis bai, a poet, is blown away by her. Thus begins a story full of passion, strong desire, and love. Over the course of two summers, both of them exchange letters and verses with the help of their friends Insha, Rangin and, Sharad (who himself is in love with a man) But the time has come for Chapla bai to return home. Can their love survive the long-distance? Can their dream of building a life together turn into reality?

2.Cobalt blue by Sachin Kundalkar

This book is translated from a book that was originally written in a regional language of India.

Siblings Tanay, and Anuja are elated when they find the perfect paying guest to live with them. He is ready to lend a helping hand when he can and listen to their mother speak about how Indian culture is ruined.  But this man is odd. He has no last name, no history, and no plans for the future. Things start going south when brother and sister, Tanay and Anuja both fall in love with him. All hell breaks loose for the Joshi family when this man runs away with Anuja.

It is a story of sensual love, tough heartbreak and, the desire to escape rules set by society.

3.Simon Vs. The Homosapien’s Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon Spier is a 16-year-old who prefers to save his drama for the school musical.  But what happens when his little secret is on the verge of spilling? Simon is gay. He knows that but hasn’t told anyone else except Blue. Blue is a pen-pal that Simon came to know through Tumblr. He has no idea who this guy Blue is. They email back and forth and are now deep in love. This is until one of the emails sent by Simon falls into the wrong hands, the class clown, Martin. Simon is now being blackmailed by him to help him date Simon’s new friend Abby.

This is a coming-of-age, coming out story which is funny, romantic, geeky, and heart-wrenching.

It definitely is a must-read.

Trigger warning- blackmail.

4.The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Jenkins Reid

If you love the glamorous life of Hollywood stars and want to know what goes on behind the facade, this book is for you.

Evelyn Hugo, a Hollywood actress is finally ready to tell the story of her life. She has had 7 husbands and was involved in numerous scandals. She wants Monique Grant, a magazine reporter to write her biography, everyone is shocked. Monique has her own set of problems.

As Monique sits and listens to Evelyn the actress’s story, she is fascinated. Evelyn’s life has been a rollercoaster ride of ambition, grit, friendship, 7 husbands, and forbidden love.

This is a great book to understand the LGBT community from the 1960s.

Trigger warnings- the death of a loved one, death of a child, homophobic slurs, suicide idealization, excess dieting, abortion, miscarriage, physical abuse, underage sex, cheating, and drunk driving.

5.The song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Are you ready to get your heart broken into tiny pieces and cry your eyes out?

This book is a masterpiece. It is a Greek mythological retelling and a new take on ‘The Iliad’ written by Homer. It is set during the ‘Age of Heroes’ against the background of the Trojan war. It revolves around Achilles and Patroclus. Achilles is the son of a king and a sea goddess. Patroclus is a prince who has been exiled from his homeland. When they meet, they instantly create a bond so strong that they could risk the wrath of Gods.

It is written from the perspective of Patroclus. Miller has seen this story as a romantic one so as to fill in the gaps that were present in ‘The Iliad’.

To be honest, half of the historians consider the story of Achilles and Patroclus to be part of the LGBT community. The other half believes that both of them were the best of friends. Who knows what the truth is….

These 5 books are only a small fraction of LGBT literature now available to us. We can still celebrate this community of people even if Pride Month is over. You can get these books from any local book store. Enjoy reading!